Jan 17, 2022

A Dog’s Best Friend

The Scroll - Articles
A Dog’s Best Friend

Indiana Gamma’s Evan Krauss is the Butler mascot’s newest caretaker

If you said that Brother Evan Krauss, Butler ’16, is one dog’s best friend, you’d be right. As caretaker and handler to Blue IV, the beloved bulldog and school mascot at Butler University, Krauss and Blue IV spend every day together representing Butler University.

Evan joined the mascot program as a sophomore student. Krauss’ skills in video/audio editing, marketing, and communications combined with gained experience in handling then mascot, Blue III, made him an excellent candidate to be second-in-command to former handler Michael Kaltenmark. By the time Krauss graduated, the mascot team was just he, Michael, and Blue III. Evan’s key role was chronicling the life of Blue III.

Until recently, Krauss, Kaltenmark, and Blue III were a two-man/one-dog department of Butler University’s Marketing and Communications department, representing the school, managing all aspects of the mascot’s life/role, especially social media account management and creative services. However, Klatenmark recently took a new job at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Blue III retired from his mascot duties.

Following the search for Butler’s next mascot, Blue IV was brought home as a puppy to live with Evan and his wife Kennedy in early January 2020, much like the relationship Kaltenmark had/has with Blue III during his reign as the mascot.

Because Blue IV had no public exposure during the 2020–21 academic year due to the pandemic, this required a significant change to the traditional training a dog would get among crowds at games, events, and on-campus. As a result, Blue didn’t have his first on-field experience until fall 2021. There was some concern because football experiences for live mascots are generally more unpredictable than basketball experiences due to the larger crowds and noise. But it turns out Blue was a natural.

Blue IV, the Brand

The mascot program had its own mission statement at the height of the pandemic: to spread joy, foster a sense of community, and maintain connectivity to Butler University while serving as a national benchmark in higher education. Krauss said they aim to make at least one person smile a day. Blue’s role is critical to student wellness and prospective new student engagement. COVID heightened the need for this kind of positive approach. Both handlers tried to harness the power of this role during times in which there was very little human-to-dog interaction.

When asked how Butler’s bulldog mascot differs from other bulldog mascots, Krauss shared that the transition from dog to dog is not through breeding, but rather each dog comes from his own line. Another significant difference is that many other live mascots are only meant for sporting events, while Butler’s mascot is for one and all at Butler and in the community.

At Home with Blue IV

Evan and his wife Kennedy live in an apartment adjacent to the Butler football field, only a ten-minute walk from the office. Kennedy is a children’s minister at their church in Brownsburg.

Their jobs are more lifestyles than traditional nine to five jobs. Events are often after regular business hours, require their full attention, and imply an incredible amount of responsibility shepherding those in their care. As a result, they have a great deal of understanding of each other’s professions.

Krauss and Phi Delta Theta

Krauss became a member of the Indiana Gamma Chapter his first year on campus because he liked the well-rounded group, the concept of alcohol-free housing, and the opportunities Phi Delta Theta offered. He lived in the infamous Castle his second year through graduation.

Because Krauss wanted more than just experience with the mascot program, he pursued the public relations role with the chapter, managing all the chapter’s social media and marketing. He was also recruitment chair and helped prospective new members better understand the Fraternity. He found the role an excellent way to broaden his skills and sought to enhance his leadership development by taking it on with determination and commitment.

As much as the brothers loved the mascot, they weren’t ever allowed special treatment or visits by the mascot. But to be sure, the brothers are vibrant and staunch supporters of Blue III and Blue IV. The chapter enjoys a level of pride knowing one of their brothers has such a public and crucial role at the university. Also, Blue engages students, and Evan benefits by getting to know many incoming new members simply by being related in The Bond.

Krauss has benefited from another aspect of fraternity by meeting with and learning from Phi alumni who are prominent business leaders in the area. For example, through an informal mentorship, he’s met with the voice of the Bulldogs, Butler sports announcer, and Phi Mark Minner, ’12.

Though the mentorship wasn’t a formal program, the undergraduate Phis know their alumni are accessible and willing to offer support and coaching if asked.

The Ultimate Responsibility

When asked if Krauss would classify his relationship with Blue as a friendship, he focuses more on the mutual appreciation for one another.

Evan’s number one concern is Blue’s well-being, making sure he thrives and that he has what he needs at all times (food, water, protection). It is his chief duty to keep Blue safe.

And Evan is clear. Blue IV provides Krauss the distinct opportunity to live out his dream. A front row, center seat to the live and inner workings of Butler University. “Every day with Blue, he is helping me achieve my dream.”

Watch Evan and Butler Blue read Blue’s very own story, Good Boy Blue. You can also watch Evan and Blue in the Netflix series Dogs.

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